Kent Police Detective Rick Gilcrist and King County Sheriff’s Office Deputy B. Johnson helped rescue a 5-year-old boy on Sunday afternoon from the Wenatchee River in Central Washington.
Gilcrist and Johnson were vacationing near the river when they saw a child floating down the river by himself in a panic, according to a Kent Police Facebook post. The boy was floating downstream in the swiftly moving and frigid water. Both men jumped into the river, reached the child, fought the current and pulled the boy to shore.
“They calmed the panicking child in the middle of the rapidly flowing river for a few minutes, fighting the current and swimming to the shore until the father arrived,” according to an onlooker as quoted in the Facebook post. “The river was moving at such a swift pace I have no doubt that without decisive action, quick thinking, and lack of hesitation these two men showed, while others stood by and watched, the child would have been swept away and ultimately drowned. The actions of both of these men deserve to be recognized and commended as they reflect greatly upon not only their own personal character, but that of the departments that employ them.”
Gilcrist will receive a life-saving award for his efforts from the Kent Police.
“We are thankful that even when off-duty, our officers regularly show the best character, the bravest actions, and a compassion for those in need,” according to the Kent Police post. “This near tragedy was averted by their selfless character leading to swift actions; their character is why they became police officers in the first place.”
A 39-year-old man drowned July 17 while inner tubing down the Wenatchee River, according to the Wenatchee World newspaper.